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August 14, 2018  

Contact: Aamina Ahmed, aahmed@apiavotemi.org, 313-643-5751                                                                                          

Groups Call on Rep Scott to Apologize for Racially Offensive Comments

APIAVote-Michigan and Others Disappointed by Election Day Insults

MICHIGAN — Today, over a dozen community groups called on Rep. Bettie Cook Scott (D-Detroit) to apologize to the immigrant community, the Asian American community, and the residents of Senate District 1 for comments she made recently on Primary Election Day, August 7.

Elected officials should be held to high standards of professional conduct, and respect people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. No elected official or candidate for office, regardless of political affiliation, should use stereotypical imagery or language. The use of these stereotypes is counter to the progress our country has made over past decades to encourage respect for all communities. On August 7, individuals from other campaigns and organizations observed the following:

  • In the early morning at Bethany Lutheran Church in Detroit, Rep. Scott called one of Rep. Stephanie Chang’s campaign volunteers an “immigrant”, saying “you don’t belong here” and “I want you out of my country”.
  • Later on in the day, Rep. Scott was talking to a voter and said “these immigrants from China are coming over and taking our community from us.” Further, she said it “disgusts” her “seeing Black people holding signs for these Asians and not supporting their own people.”
  • In the early evening at East English Village Preparatory Academy, Rep. Scott approached another campaign’s volunteer and told her not to vote for the “ching-chang”, apparently referring to Rep. Chang. She was overheard telling multiple voters “Vote for me. Don’t vote for the ching-chong!” She also told Rep. Chang’s campaign staff that she called Chang’s volunteers “ching-chongs”, saying “I called them ching-chongs. That’s what they are!”

“In these times of rampant xenophobia, racism and intolerance, it is extremely disappointing to hear of an elected official speak to voters in this way,” said Aamina Ahmed, Executive Director of APIAVote – Michigan. “We all need to work together to combat prejudice, bias and systems of discrimination, not fall prey to them. We cannot let stereotyping and stigmatization become normalized by ignoring it. It is exceedingly upsetting to learn that the comments were made by a woman of color. We can build inclusive and cohesive communities that recognize diversity of all forms as a strength vs a weakness and hope that Rep. Scott apologizes and joins us in this work.”

The organizations calling for an apology are: Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote – Michigan, African Bureau of Immigration & Social Affairs, Association of Chinese Americans, American Citizens for Justice, Cortland Street Block Club, Detroit Action Commonwealth, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Engage Michigan, Equality Michigan, Fair Elections Center, Filipino American Community Council of Michigan, Good Jobs Now, Michigan League for Public Policy, Michigan United, Michigan Voice, MOSES, Mothering Justice, Pontiac Policy Council and Progress Michigan

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